Tipping and cash needed on Disney World trips – PREP096

You've got most everything paid for on your Disney World trip, but who will you need to tip? And what things will you need to pay with cash?

I've got info on that today, plus lots of news and a quick tip of the day.

When to tip at Disney World square 3 150x150 - Tipping and cash needed on Disney World trips - PREP096

Want even more information on tipping? You can find that in our When to Tip at Disney World blog post.

These are notes from this episode. There's much more info included in the audio so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.


Call in your quick tip of the day

To prepare for the 100th episode, I'd love to have you call in your own quick tip of the day at https://www.speakpipe.com/WDWPrepToGo.

Things that require tipping or cash

Almost anytime somebody handles your luggage, you should tip $1-2/bag for their help. That includes curbside check-in at the airport, Magical Express Cast Members who load your bags on and off the bus, and when bell services helps you at your resort.

If you do not pick up your own bags at the airport and allow Disney to deliver them to your resort, tipping isn't required because you likely won't see the people delivering your bags.

It's customary to tip 18-20% at all Table Service restaurants (if you're on the Disney Dining Plan, be sure to tip based on the amount you would've paid). For parties of 6 or more, an 18% gratuity will automatically be included. Gratuity is also included with the price at Cinderella's Royal Table, Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue, Spirit of Aloha Luau, and Mickey's Backyard BBQ.

Tipping can be paid with cash, credit card, or by charging to your MagicBand. That includes people on the Disney Dining Plan who can pay for their food with credits but use another payment method for handling tips.

Other services
You can also expect to tip for salon services, $1/person per day for Mousekeeping (use my cute envelopes if you'd like), valet ($2-5), and boat drivers. Most other Cast Members can't accept tips, but you can feel free to give them thank-you notes and stop by guest relations to leave a compliment there.

I didn't mention this in the podcast, but you can choose to tip at places that provide salon-style services such as Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Harmony Barber Shop, and Pirate's League as well if you'd like.


  • 2016 packages were released and some changes were made to the offers. Check out this overview for a complete list of the changes. For people traveling in 2015, check out this list of everything that's included.
  • 2016 Disney Dining Plan prices have changed. See the list of prices here.
  • Many restaurants aren't shown as being on the list for 2016 Disney Dining Plan, but they should be added by the end of the year.
  • Mears has an app for calling taxis at Disney World (available for iOS and Android).
  • Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach refurbishments have been announced and are on the monthly dashboards.
  • Selfie sticks have been completely banned at both Disney World and Disneyland.
  • Military discounts have been extended through December.
  • Captain EO will return to Epcot on July 19.

Quick tip of the day

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I couldn’t find a date for this blog entry. How old is it? Reason I’m asking is because I’ve read some where it says you must tip 18% at Cinderella’s Castle and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. This says gratuity is included. I don’t want to tip if it’s included, but I don’t want to not tip if it’s not.


we are going next month and on the dining plan. I really did’t want to bring cash with me into the parks. I know you can tip using your magic band account but is it better to tip in cash? Do cast members have to claim their tips if we use our MB accounts?


Are you required to tip at the table service restaurants? I will be a party of two on the dining plan.


Tipping based on “what you would have paid” at Disney is absurd, bc what your would have paid is at a minimum double what you should pay. I typically tip 10%, which is 20% of what the meal should have cost.


OBVIOUSLY you have never waited tables or been in any other service industry. The servers have no control over the prices. If you can’t afford it (INCLUDING a PROPER tip), you shouldn’t go. Eat somewhere less expensive so you can afford to act like a decent human being.

Camilo Arturo

So, do you find English or Australian indicent human beings because we use 10% as the tipping fare? Or do you find Jappanes to be horrible people for not tipping at all as it is considered extremely rude? Or maybe have you considered why there is only one contry in the world which thinks you can compensate bad wages by making the costumer pay for their employees?


The lockers at the water parks and the machines in the laundry rooms accept credit cards only, no cash or Magic Bands.


Everyone forgets that tipping is optional not required. Personally, and anyone’s opinion won’t change me, it’s their job not my job to make up for what they don’t get in their pay. We do meal plan, DVC owners, cost of our souvenirs which I get Disney gift cards to use. I don’t bring cash or credit card on trip


Obviously you have never been a server. You do realize that they are typically paid less than other cast members, right? And I’m sure you expect exemplary service from the people you stiff. The money you pay for dining plans, DVC and souvenirs does not go into you right servers pockets. Just another typical entitlemouse. *eyeroll*
Ever stop on think what your service would be like without the servers?

Camilo Arturo

In fairness, that is not the customer’s fault. There is a reason why the U.S. is the only country in the world where you see gratitudes around 20%. The right waqy to do things would be for them to get paid what they deserve. This idea came around the depression when owners couldn’t hire people so they decided to work “on tips only”, and it kept as an almost compulsatory thing. We are over those depression times now, and the tipping costume only helps the owners to pay less to their employees. I do agree with the OP about being… Read more »


Me and my family are going to Disney World in January. There will be six of us at dinner so that automatic 18% gratuity will be added on. I am trying to figure out how much money I will need for tip? We are on the dining plan so as I’ve been told one appetizer one entrée and one dessert plus you’re drunk. What should we expect per meal? Also it’s only me my husband and daughter but my mother-in-law father-in-law and sister-in-law are sitting with us hence making the party of six so the gratuity will be split in… Read more »

Sarah Morris

You should also tip the hotel housekeeper especially if you leave a mess. I usually go with $5 a day.


How much should you tip for BBB? We are taking our daughter there.

Shelley Crittenden

We just got back from our Disney trip. After reading all the tipping tips, we did the mousekeeping. We did 5 dollars a day for only 3 of us in the room. Nothing was different. We didn’t get extra shampoos, soaps, or anything special. We stopped the tipping after 4 days. It was kind of a let down.


I’m sorry to hear that. I was there February last year and tipped her $5/day and we got extra shampoo, conditioners, lotion and soap everyday.


The purpose of tipping mouskeeping isn’t for extra beauty products, if you need or want more simply ask for them. Tipping is done by giving freely and with out expectation, they work very hard just like you do in your home. It’s an expression of gratitude.




Tipping Mousekeeping is a MUST. Our Mousekeeper was the same the entire 8 days and she was SPECTACULAR!! We tipped her $5 a day and she kept our room stocked with all the yummy smelling shampoos and soaps and we had such cute surprises left every day. She brought each girl a signed pic of Mickey and Minnie, she had our stuffed animals playing poker one day, playing on the iPad another, decorated our window. It was honestly one of my favorite memories from our trip. We made sure to send an email to Disney when we got home praising… Read more »

Lisa Z

Last trip, in November, we never saw Mousekeeping, ours never seemed to go out of their way for us — if my kids left the sofa bed out it was left alone, etc. And I guess at AoA, they dont do the cute towel sculptures like we had previously when we stayed at the Yacht club. All in all, I wondered why I was bothering to use cute handmade Mousekeeper envelopes and tip everyday when none of the magic was being returned. It was a letdown. Enough that I will not stay at AoA again, even if the suite was… Read more »


Do you ever do anything just because it is the right thing to do, without the expectation of getting something in return? Great lessons you are teaching your kids there.


I experienced the same thing at the Contemporary. Even though there was only 2 of us, I was tipping $5 a day. But I didn’t notice anything special in return at all. No cute towel sculptures, just fresh towels and soaps, all things I would expect when staying at any hotel.

Toward the end of the trip, I kept tipping but still nothing. Very disappointed .


Should you tip the caricature artist? I didn’t, and felt awkward when I didn’t have something to give him after he handed me my artwork.


I didn’t tip ours either. I was surprised at how creepy the guy was that did ours. I just wanted to get out of there.


My son is doing pirate’s league for the first time in a couple of weeks, is tipping at Pirate’s League allowed?


Love all of your helpful posts! If gratuity is included in the price of dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table and Spirit of Aloha, does this mean that you do not tip if using the dining plan or that you do tip and they will tell you the amount? Thanks!!


I am wondering the samething…


At BBB in Magic Kingdom they would not allow tip via our payment method using Magic Band (charge back to the room). We carry no cash, no cards since using the Magic Bands. (always have a bit of cash on hand)


I think your envelopes for Mousekeeping are so cute, but when we used them last time, the Mousekeepers didn’t take them for the first two days. We left the envelopes with cash tips propped up on the dresser and the envelopes weren’t touched. It wasn’t until I opened the envelopes and left cash hanging out that the Mousekeepers took the envelopes. Since I’m kinda crazy about tipping, I felt bad that I inadvertently stiffed Mousekeepers two days. Next trip, I’m doing flat notes with cash on top.


Would you recommend the suggested 18-20% tip for character buffet dining such as crystal palace or Hollywood & Vine? I know they count as a TS but don’t require as much attention from a server as a traditional TS. Also, do you leave your mousekeeping tip in the morning before you leave for the parks? We plan on going back on the afternoon for a nap, so I just want to make sure our room gets turndown service and the appropriate people revive their tip.

Sarah Uthoff

I wanted to say I think this episode and the dining reservation tips episode (we got everything we wanted, most at preferred times) are the most useful ones you’ve done. I’ve really gotten a lot of incredibly useful information from your podcasts. I’m sure our vacation will be more magical because of you.


Hi Shannon,

I’m from Canada, and we’re heading down to Florida in September for 10 days. I am wondering, does Disney World accept Interac flash? I don’t have a credit card, but my debit card has flash technology, where I can tap the card on readers, and the money comes out of my bank account.



Thank you so much for your helpful information, Shannon. You have renewed my passion for Disney trip planning!

You can go into a restroom (let’s say at the Magic Kingdom) and the attendant is working non-stop and it is impeccably clean. With guests visiting from all over the world and different cultural standards, plus guest attendance, it can be a challenge. Is it appropriate to tip a restroom attendant?


Is it customary to tip for the kids only pirate adventure cruises? If so, what would be an appropriate amount?


What about carry on for magical express? Do you tip for those as well or do you always handle them yourself?


Thanks! I will also have a stroller and carseat would you tip for those as well?


I know BoG for lunch is considered QS, but is it still customary to tip? I’m going for the first time in October and don’t know how it works, if they bring food to your table, refill your drinks or what.


Thank you!


I’m addicted to the disney gif app!! Thanks for the heads up. My husband is not happy. I keep sending him disney texts! 🙂


Hi Shannon! First – follow you religiously 🙂 I absolutely know that I’m getting good information and staying up-to-date with everything I need to know about for my Disney vacations. I’m a regular listener of your podcasts and my husband is occassionally is earshot as I’m listening. He “thinks” that you are saying “WW Prepschool” and that you aren’t saying the “D”. Sometimes you say it so fast, I feel the same way (don’t kill me!). Its probably something you say so many times a day that it just rolls off your tongue but thought I’d provide you that feedback.… Read more »


Hi Shannon! We took our daughters to the Bibbiti Bobbiti Boutique, and were thrilled with the experience. We tipped each of their Fairy Godmothers after asking at the front if it was acceptable.

I learned from this episode that I shorted the curbside baggage check guy at the Wilderness Lodge. Thanks for clearing up those awkward moments when I wonder should I/shouldn’t I? 🙂 Now I know for the next time!


Another incredibly helpful podcast …sadly a week too late as I’m just back from Wilderness Lodge blushing over the fact that I under-tipped bell services :-(. At least I know for next time.

I also wanted to let you know that I used one of your thank you notes for a cast member who went delightfully above and beyond during my stay at WL and you should’ve seen the smile that it brought to her face. Genius.



Can you use a Disney gift card for tipping at your meal or does it have to be cash/credit card/magic band?


Thank you for answering that. I just started buying gift cards with my Target red card to save a little bit of money.


that is how we always tip! we buy gift cards at the local grocery store each payday for that purpose…and get fuel perks in the process!


Me, too! I love that I can save 5% on almost everything we will spend for our trip!


i do that too!

Sarah Uthoff

What about if you take a taxi say between the Art of Animation Resort and the Grand Floridian? How much do you tip taxis?


We were able to get free dining for our Nov trip and we’ll be dining with a party of 13 for table service meals, so since tipping will be automatically added to the meal cost, how will that work for us? Will we just get a bill for our tip only? We’re, also, dining at CRT where the tip is included in the meal cost, so how does that work when using DDP? Thanks for a great episode – one of those details I never considered in the bigger picture of Disney planning, but definitely an important one to think… Read more »


Disney Gif app not available in UK how disappointing! Thanks for another great episode x

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